Were you religious BEFORE becoming a JW?

by LittleToe 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • LittleToe

    On another thread by restrangled I posted the following:

    I'm really interested by the stories of those who were seduced into the JWs. To what extent they were religious before they became JWs? I don't just mean in the "I was raised an Anglican or RC and one day the JWs knocked on my door...", or maybe I do, if that was your experience. I can't help wonder but that there weren't many "religously" religious people brought into the JWs. That was my experience of seeing new ones. I don't mean that as a complete broadbrush, but just as a general comment.

    So, were you devout, prior to becoming a JW? And if so, to what degree?

  • Dismembered

    Greetings LT

    I was an altar boy in the Roman Catholic church. Served mass, funerals, and a couple weddings.


  • dedpoet

    Not at the time I became a jw, but in my teens I dated a girl who went to a local Baptist church, and she got me to go along to some services with her. I eventually joined when I was 18 or 19, and carried on going for a while, until I was 20, even after my relationship with her was over. I was never a really committed Christian, certainly not as committed as I was as a jw. I wouldn't say I was overly religious when, 20 years later, the jws knocked on my door.

    I guess that makes me a double apostate, having abandoned two beliefs?

  • bigmouth

    No, not even remotely religious. Up until about 18. My mother had studied for about 16 years and when our family was breaking down for all sorts of reasons I thought that if I made a stand for mums religion I might just make things better.

    I could never get a handle on this 'loving my heavenly father' thing. My experience of fathers was not great and Jehovah just fitted the same kind of distant, uninvolved authority figure.

    That's the short story.

  • Cellist

    I was not a religious person, but I was curious about the Bible. However, all the Churches I ever went to repulsed me. (Catholic, United and Anglican). The others repulsed me before I even stepped foot in the Church.


  • fifi40

    Hi Little Toe (do you have any snow)

    Anyway not me I was born and dazed a JW, but my ex husband was a RC before his conversion. He went to a RC school, was taught by nuns and then opted for JWism. He is still one today and a total believer. Occasionally he tries to get me into a conversation about it, but I resist because experience has told me I am banging my head on a brick wall.


  • luna2

    Nope. I was pretty much fed up with religion. The church we attended when I was growing up was Presbyterian...and I still don't know what makes that denomination any different from the multitude of other protestant churches around. It wasn't a bad place, just more of a social club than anything. I didn't feel they taught us much either. I thought I got more out of reading religious novels (of which I was fond) than I did from either the regular sermons, the confirmation classes I attended or, later, the adult Sunday school or whatever it was called, which was more like a weekly seminar on pop culture...they rarely discussed anything religious.

    My kids and I did attend church for a while when we lived at Ft. Benning, GA. Kind of a surreal experience. I had a hard time reconciling my husband's profession with religion. What were we supposed to pray for exactly? Please, God, let no one get seriously hurt or killed if there's a war? Please, God, don't let my husband get sent to...whereever? Please, God, bless the U.S. of A in all our military endeavors? Seemed kind of strange to me. I mean, you could pray for those things, but would God listen? Why would he take sides between countries or let one soldier get killed while he saved another?

    So, while I was interested in the Bible, wondered what God's plan was and wanted to know if I should be more religous, I didn't think the traditional forms of Christianity held any answers.

  • lonelysheep
    I can't help wonder but that there weren't many "religously" religious people brought into the JWs. That was my experience of seeing new ones.

    This is what really caught my attention on Restrangled's thread. I had never thought about that viewpoint when studying.

    So here's my religious history.....

    From birth to around 10, I attended church every Sunday at a Mennonite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mennonite) church in the country area of New Jersey I was raised in. Sunday School, which was grouped by kids of different ages, began at 9:30 AM and lasted about an hour, followed by church service. My maternal, German grandparents were church members, as well as my parents (even after their divorce), my mom's sister and her family, and our friends. This was my foundation for what religion was supposed to be, as well as who God and Jesus were. It was also the place where I once questioned, "Is God real?" but let that thought leave my head until after leaving the JW's.

    At the same time, I attended Catholic school from age 5 to 11, and attended Mass once a week. Participation in Catholicism continued through the age of about 19, when I attended with my friend and her family (the friend who recently passed away). At the age of 14, I decided I wanted to get confirmed as a Catholic. I felt they were right about everything until I was told they are against birth control. As a teenager, I wanted NO kids EVER. So, I knew I wouldn't be able to follow their rules completely (though NO Catholic I've ever known has and they're fine), so I felt lost and let that idea go.

    In between that time of ages 11 to 21, I attended a Baptist church with my dad and his family. I hated it. Too much singing and dancing and it was loud. I was not used to that. I didn't care about the music.

    I forgot to add--in this time, some additional churches attended were Methodist, Episcopal, AME (african-methodist-episcopal), & a lot of time in a Bretheryn church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brethren

    I wanted to believe in God and all that came with it so badly and sought it through religon. There was a time I felt religion useless, not bad, but simply unnecessary. I wanted answers to questions that I know now, no person can answer. Then, when my daughter was born sick and almost dying, I spent every single day she was in the hospital chapel (30 days) praying to God asking her to live. She did, and that made me think it was due to something invisible in the sky. So, I was left with complete faith in God and no religion to interpret 'him'. A few months later, I started studying with the JW's.

    I was never so into any faith that I could be labeled as "religious". I wanted to be, but couldn't quite get there.

  • lovelylil


    Have I always been religious?

    Yes. All of my life. I grew up in a non-practicing Catholic family. Always believed in God. Prayed as a young child, even though my parents did not. My problem was always not understanding the Bible properly and not understanding that the only way to God is thru a personal relationship with his son, and not a man made religious organization. This contributed to my becoming a JW.

    It took me 25 years and membership in two cults, to understand the things I now know. All the while I was searching for God in religions, and he was directing me to himself by his Spirit. Not the answer I wanted at first so I paid no heed to it. What can I say? I guess I was a little dense.

    But in the end, by the Grace of God, I was deliverd out of both cults and finally found the true God, who when I prayed for his Spirit to live in me, answered my prayers. I am now a born-again believer and have been for 3 years. Looking back on my experiences, I do not regret one thing. I've learned many lessons from what I had to go thru including; there is true freedom in Christ, God is in control of everything, and if we keep the faith, God will not test us beyond what we can handle. Peace, Lilly

  • restrangled

    Little Toe,

    This is a very interesting question and for myself It doesn't apply (born and raised JW). I can tell you my Grandmother who was the start of the great JW legacy in our family was extremely religious. She was a 7th day Adventist who butted heads with her own mother as a child against the Protestant religion. She bought into all the medical info of the Adventists so it was a natural conversion to Russel's and Rutherfords medical propaganda among other things. The immunization beliefs from that time filtered down to my own children when it was time for theirs in the 1980's! I Never received all my Polio vacs and never Small Pox.(born 1959)

    My Grandmother was the only one of her brothers and sisters to, as they put it: "Go nuts over religion"


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